You have a lot of hard work ahead of you. The biggest task may be getting rid of what shouldn’t be in the novel. At the top of that list would be explanations to the reader, which come in the form of interior monologue, dialogue, and narration. And very often, what’s being explained is already perfectly clear to the reader. Writing is a form of communication, and writers have an understandable but unfortunate urge to make things clear. I say “unfortunate” because when you make something clear that readers can figure out on their own, you sacrifice a powerful way to engage them at a deeper level in your story.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say we read interior monologue that tells us Pie is smitten with Alex , or interior monologue that tells us Alex is smitten with Pie. We already know they’re attracted to each other, so we feel patronized. That feeling distances us at least a little from their unfolding romance. But suppose neither character expresses these thoughts directly. Suppose we see them together, listen to their dialogue, pick up subtle hints that suggest they’re attracted to each other, and come to the conclusion that whether either of them realizes it or not, they’re falling in love. At this point we’re involved in the story at a deeper level because we’ve invested a little of ourselves in it. Which is exactly what you want.

 You have explanations of Pie and Alex’s feelings, explanations of fanatical Muslim philosophy and religious ideals, explanations of terrorist aims, and so on—very little, in fact, happens or is felt in this novel that isn’t pointed out or explained to the reader. (“Bob was angry, and Fletch was desperate.”) Sometimes explanations are necessary; more often, they’re not. If you stripped away most of the explanations, this novel would with that change alone become a much better book.